Indiana is the eleventh state to outlaw best-practice medical care for transgender and nonbinary youth so far this year
April 5, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the world’s leading suicide prevention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, condemned the signage of SB 480 into law by Indiana’s governor. This legislation aims to ban doctors from providing best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary young people across the state.
“This ban flies in the face of long-established standards of care and guidance from every major medical and mental health association in the country, and denies young people of critical care that has saved lives for so many,” said Kasey Suffredini (he/him pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “Personal medical decisions should be made between patients, their doctors, and their families, not by politicians. For trans youth in Indiana – we’ve got your back, and The Trevor Project’s counselors are here to support you 24/7. We will continue working with our partners and allies on the ground to push back against legislation like this, and we will not stop fighting until all young people feel safe, seen, and supported for who they are.”
54% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Indiana seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 19% made an attempt. Lawmakers ought to be working to support these young people, not pass legislation to isolate them further,” said Casey Pick (she/her pronouns), Director of Law and Policy for The Trevor Project. “This ban goes against the guidance of every major medical and mental health association in the country. Personal medical decisions should be made between patients, their doctors, and their families – not by politicians. We urge the governor to veto this bill and, instead, prioritize advancing the health and well-being of all young people in Indiana.
The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State found that 45% of LGBTQ youth in Indiana seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth. Additionally, 15% of LGBTQ youth in Indiana attempted suicide in the past year, including 19% of transgender and nonbinary youth. At a national level, The Trevor Project’s data has found that 71% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their gender identity, and those who have reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who have not.
However, research has also consistently found that transgender medical care, is associated with positive mental health outcomes, including showing promise for reducing suicide risk. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project, the first large-scale study of more than 9,000 youth who received gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT), found that GAHT was significantly related to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth. Specifically for young people under age 18, receiving GAHT was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and of a past-year suicide attempt.
According to The Trevor Project’s new polling, 86% of transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. When asked about new policies that will ban doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth, 74% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 59% felt stressed, 56% felt sad, 48% felt hopeless, 47% felt scared, 46% felt helpless, and 45% felt nervous.
Further, a 2022 poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project found that a majority of adults agree that transgender minors should have access to gender-affirming hormone therapy (55%) and puberty blockers (52%) if it’s recommended by their doctor and supported by their parents. Only 1 in 3 adults polled said lawmakers should have the ability to outlaw gender-affirming medical care for minors even if such a ban is against the recommendation of doctors and major medical associations.
If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.